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GAMEDAY LINKS: Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Final
Box Score Los Angeles Lakers 20 27 30 26 103
Play by Play New Orleans Hornets 23 25 16 23 87
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Lakers vs. Hornets
Kobe Bryant 30K
Postgame: Kobe Bryant
Arena Link: Kobe Bryant
Kobe Hits 30,000
Dwight Working
Lakers vs. Hornets: First Half

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Bryant eclipses 30,000, Lakers beat Hornets 103-87

By BRETT MARTEL


Posted Dec 06 2012 12:20AM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Before Kobe Bryant had even turned in his latest dominant performance, NBA Commissioner David Stern sought him out to offer a congratulatory hand shake for the extraordinary scoring milestone the Lakers star was about to surpass.

Stern assumed Bryant would score the 13 points he needed to become only the fifth player in NBA history to reach 30,000, and who wouldn't?

Bryant had 17 points by halftime, finished with 29, and Los Angeles snapped a two-game skid with a 103-87 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

"He just congratulated me and told me I was one of the best competitors that he's seen in this game and I really appreciated that," Bryant said of his pregame exchange with Stern.

Now Bryant in is elite company. The only other players to score more than 30,000 are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.

"It's pretty awesome," Bryant said. "These are players I respect tremendously and obviously grew up idolizing and watching and learned a great deal from."

When Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni was asked before tipoff about Bryant's impending milestone, the coach joked, "That just means he is old."

In fact, at 34, Bryant is younger than the other four were when they hit the mark, but Bryant also turned pro at 18, and is in his 17th season.

"Honestly, I don't know why I'm still working as hard as I am after 17 years," Bryant said. "I enjoy what I do. I think that's the thing that I'm most proud of: every year, every day working hard at it. It's a lot of years, a lot of work."

Bryant eclipsed the scoring milestone with a short jumper late in the first half that was perhaps the least spectacular of his baskets, which included the usual array of soaring dunks, demoralizing transition 3-pointers and turnaround, off-balance jumpers.

Dwight Howard added 18 points and five blocked shots for the Lakers, who trailed 48-47 at halftime but seized control with a 13-0 run to open the third quarter, and the lead grew as large as 20 in the fourth.

Ryan Anderson scored 31, hitting 5 of 8 3-pointers for the Hornets, who were playing their ninth straight game without top overall draft choice Anthony Davis. Greivis Vasquez added 16 points, while Robin Lopez scored 15 points and blocked five shots.

Anderson said Bryant "deserves all the recognition that he gets."

"He's a special guy to play against. Unfortunately, we didn't get the win," Anderson added. "I would have liked him to get the 30,000, but for us to get the win."

Antawn Jamison scored 15 and Metta World Peace 11, and Chris Duhon had 10 assists for Los Angeles, which is playing without Steve Nash and Pau Gasol and won for only the second time on the road this season. The Hornets fell to 3-7 at home and lost for the 10th time in 12 games overall.

The Hornets led from early in the first quarter until halftime, going up by as many as eight points when Al-Farouq Aminu slammed down an alley-oop lob from Vasquez, energizing the largest crowd of the season at the New Orleans Arena.

Bryant helped the Lakers trim their deficit after that, hitting five free throws and his milestone on 3-foot jumper in the last 2:15 of the second quarter.

Jamison opened the third-quarter onslaught with 3, Howard followed with a fast-break layup and Bryant had two straight fast-break dunks, one of which he created himself with a steal. Howard finished the surge with a layup.

"I just didn't think our defense was there, especially that first five or six minutes of the third quarter," Hornets coach Monty Williams said. "Our defense was really poor, and we can't afford those lapses."

Anderson's shooting helped the Hornets pull to 70-62 late in the third period, but Bryant hit an 18-footer and Jodie Meeks added one of his three 3-pointers to give Los Angeles a 13-point lead heading into the final period. Meeks and Darius Morris then added 3s early in the period and New Orleans could not recover.

Afterward, Bryant sat in his locker, reflecting on the elite company he now keeps in NBA history, and the things he sees in younger prolific scoring stars like Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, who the Lakers will see next on Friday night, and who could very well join the 30,000-point club at the rate he's going.

One common characteristic, he said, is an apparent immunity to both pressure and criticism.

"Scorers kind of have a fighter-pilot mentality. We're a different breed," Bryant said. "But there are different positions. We scored in a myriad of ways. We all went about it differently in different situations. It's fun to see." Notes: Stern said the scheduling that allowed him to see Bryant reach 30,000 was pure coincidence. Stern was making a regularly scheduled visit with first-year Hornets owner Tom Benson, who is also the owner of the NFL's Saints, to see how Benson's plans for the NBA franchise were taking shape. Stern visited Saints headquarters, where new construction has begun on additions that will also accommodate Hornets offices and practice courts. Stern said he was looking forward to congratulating Bryant. "As a talent, a competitor, I think that he is up there on the pedestal with Michael Jordan. He is one of the greatest," Stern said. ... Stern also discussed the possibility of a team name change, something Benson has said he wants since buying the club last spring. Stern says the club has not yet applied for a name change but that the league would likely accept whatever name the Hornets want and expedite the transition.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited



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View More Infographics
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Points Anderson (NOH), 31
Rebounds Aminu, 10
Assists Duhon, 10
Steals Bryant/Meeks, 3
Blocks Howard and Lopez (NOH), 5
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POSTGAME QUOTES



Mike D'Antoni:

On the difference from last night to tonight in the second half:
“It’s hard to say. I know in the first half they had 10 offensive rebounds and the night before we gave up 21. It was killing us in the first half, so we talked about it at half, and played much better in the second half.”

On stopping the Hornets from getting more defensive rebounds in the second half:
“We talked about it at half and came out more aggressive and did a much better job. When Dwight goes to block the shot we need to roll back and help out with getting the rebound. They’re getting better at helping out; they haven’t played as much with Dwight yet, so we’ll get better as time goes by.”




Monty Williams:

On the first half execution:
“In the first half until six minutes to go in the second quarter, I thought we played the kind of basketball that we wanted to play. We were defending. On offense, we were getting to the basket. Guys were driving. We didn’t knock down a lot of shots outside on the perimeter. Ryan (Anderson) and Greivis (Vasquez) knocked down a couple, but I thought it was our kind of basketball. Then, that last four to six minutes, they cut it to one, and we never recovered from that. We came out in the third quarter, and we looked like a young team. That’s the thing that hit me as it was happening. We are just a young team.”

On if he was surprised by his team’s lackluster start to the second half:
“Not many things surprise me with our team because we are going to go through stretches like that. We have so many guys who have never been in that situation and don’t understand when you have a team like the Lakers on a back-to-back on your home floor, you have a chance to keep it competitive, but you have to do certain things. One, you have to run your offense with some urgency, and two, you have to get stops. I just didn’t think our defense was there, especially that first five or six minutes of the third quarter. I thought our defense was really poor, and we can’t afford those lapses. I felt like we played the same way the other night; we just knocked down shots. Our defense just kind of left us in the third quarter, and they took advantage of it.”




Roger Mason:

On Lakers 3rd quarter play:
“The starters came out in the third quarter and they were a little more determined. We didn’t have the juice or energy like they did. They turned their games up and broke open the game.”

On coming out of half with a slow start:
“It’s something that we have to do a better job of and we will. Each game with a young group is a learning experience. We didn’t come out with enough energy and that was a big part to the game.”




Ryan Anderson:

On slow second half start:
“We have had a little bit of trouble with that this year, and it’s something that we will need to tighten up on and come together as a group.”

On Kobe Bryant’s Record Breaking Night:
“He’s a special player. He deserves all the recognition that he gets. He’s a special guy to play against. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the win. I would have liked him to get the 30,000, but for us to get the win.”

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LAKERS-HORNETS PREVIEW

By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN

Posted Dec 05 2012 12:45AM

The Los Angeles Lakers badly need a victory Wednesday night considering the location of the final stop of this week's road trip.

The Lakers will try to avoid their second three-game skid and could again be without Pau Gasol as they take on the New Orleans Hornets.

Los Angeles (8-10) led by as many as 17 points and was still up 13 in the fourth quarter before falling 107-105 at Houston on Tuesday to open a three-game trip.

After allowing 40 fourth-quarter points in Sunday's 113-103 defeat to Orlando, the Lakers gave up 34 in the final period against the Rockets. Dwight Howard did not have a shot attempt in the fourth Tuesday as Houston intentionally fouled him, and he made 8 of 16 free throws overall.

"People are going to say whatever they want to say, but at the end of the day, go back and look at the game," Howard said. "The reason we lost was not my free throws. That didn't lose us the game. Our defense was not there in the fourth quarter."

Gasol, averaging a career-low 12.6 points and 8.8 rebounds this season, is day to day after sitting out due to tendinitis in both knees. He said the condition has not improved since training camp.

"We just kept it under control and I was hoping that we would see some kind of improvement, and some kind of pain relief," he said. "But it hasn't happened."

Veteran Antawn Jamison had 15 points and nine rebounds in Gasol's place in the starting lineup Tuesday.

The Lakers have won seven straight regular-season meetings over the Hornets (5-11) as they try to improve upon a 1-2 mark in the second half of games on consecutive nights. This road trip ends Friday at Oklahoma City, with the NBA-leading Thunder on a six-game win streak.

New Orleans remains without top overall draft pick Anthony Davis, who has missed the last eight games with a left ankle injury.

The Hornets are continuing a five-game homestand in which they lost the first two games before cruising to Monday's 102-81 rout of Milwaukee. New Orleans turned in its second-best shooting performance at 52.4 percent and also its second-best effort in field-goal percentage defense at 38.2.

"We have to play hard and we have to defend," coach Monty Williams said. "When we defend like that, it gives us a chance to shoot easy buckets and that is how you get close to 50 percent (shooting). You're getting a lot of layups."

The Hornets know the rest of the week will be difficult with this homestand concluding Friday against Memphis before a trip to Miami the next day.

"With the next two games, which are big ones, we have to go out there with the same energy and use it in a positive way," rookie guard Austin Rivers said.

Rivers and the Hornets will try to slow down Kobe Bryant, averaging a league-best 27.9 points. Bryant scored 39 on Tuesday, with the Lakers falling to 1-7 when he nets at least 30.

Bryant is 13 points shy of becoming the fifth player in NBA history with 30,000.

Los Angeles is 3-5 under new coach Mike D'Antoni.

Copyright 2012 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Probable Starters .
  Lakers    
  #15 World Peace SF #0 Aminu  
  #4 JamisonPF #33 Anderson  
  #12 Howard C #15 Lopez  
  #24 Bryant SG #8 Mason  
  #1 Morris PG #21 Vasquez  


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Lakers Steve Blake
(abdominal surgery) is day-to-day.
Pau Gasol
(tendinitis, left and right knees) is out.
Jordan Hill
(herniated disc; sprained right wrist) is probable.
Steve Nash
(non-displaced fracture, left leg) is out.
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Hornets Anthony Davis
(stress reaction, left ankle) is out.
Eric Gordon
(sore right knee) is out.
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12/05 - LAL @ NOH
01/29 - NOH @ LAL
03/06 - LAL @ NOH
04/09 - NOH @ LAL
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